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Specializing in Rare and Antiquarian Books on the Occult and more.

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CROWLEY, ALEISTER. The Spirit of Solitude, An Autohagiography Subsequently Re-Antichristened The Confessions of Aleister Crowley

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CROWLEY, ALEISTER. The Spirit of Solitude, An Autohagiography Subsequently Re-Antichristened The Confessions of Aleister Crowley

2,495.00

London: The Mandrake Press, 1929. 

First Edition. 2 Volumes. Hardcover. Quarto. Issued in an edition of 800 copies and printed on Japanese vellum. Bound in white buckram with Crowley’s far-out self portrait and titles in black to front of both volumes. Gilt titles, volume numbers, and phallic seven-pointed star design to spines. Issued without dust jackets. Bevelled edges. Top edges gilt. Portrait frontispiece in each volume. 284, 307 pages. Illustrated with full-page black and white photographs plus several diagrams (all present). Errata slip attached at end of second volume.

This set is in very nice condition. Boards remain surprisingly white (as opposed to yellowed as is often the case), Gilt spine titles and decorations still bright. The lightest of rubbing and handling wear to boards. One or two extremely tiny corner bumps, some mild foxing to spine on volume one and sporadic foxing to inner buckram edges around end papers. One match head-sized hole to the paper at the lower inner hinge of volume one. Bindings are strong and secure. If the book was read, it was done very carefully. This set remains in near fine condition. Increasingly scarce and especially desirable in this well-preserved state.

The original 8 page prospectus is included with this set. It is in good to very good condition, showing some edge and corner wear, with some light creases, staples have rusted, and there are a few short edge tears. This very scarce piece of Crowley ephemera is rarely seen. See below for details on the prospectus.

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This is the first edition of Crowley’s Confessions in two volumes. Crowley’s desire was that this work be published in six total volumes but due to various financial factors and the eventual demise of The Mandrake Press, the project had to be halted after the first two volumes. In 1969 John Symonds and Kenneth Grant were able to edit and issue a single, abridged volume edition of “The Confessions” which included much from the four unpublished volumes. A fair amount of text and several photographs from these first two volumes were not included in the later editions, much of this material was related to Crowley’s mountaineering and travel adventures and is available nowhere else. 

As to the rare 8 page prospectus: the cover shows a portrait of Crowley by Augustus John and includes publishing information. Page two contains a one page essay by P.R. Stephenson called "Is Aleister Crowley a Saint"?, page 3 shows a classic b/w photo of Crowley, page 4 lists the complete contents of volumes one and two, page 5 shows three additional b/w Crowley photos, pages 6 and 7 consist of a synopsis of the unpublished volumes III-VI, and also on page 7 is a color reproduction of Crowley's painting: Four Red Monks Carrying a Goat Across the Snow to Nowhere. The back cover (page 8) lists publications by Crowley.